Don’t Ignore These Early Symptoms of Black Fungus Disease
What is black fungus disease?
Black fungus disease is caused by fungi when they penetrate human skin. This type of infection is quite rare, especially since we have modern medicine to help us fight off infections. However, these types of infections do happen, especially in people who are immunocompromised, meaning their immune system is not working properly.
There are two types of black fungal disease: superficial and systemic. The superficial black fungal disease occurs when the fungus grows on the surface of the skin. The systemic black fungal disease occurs deep inside the body where the fungus spreads throughout the body.
Quick Fact: More than 50% of the population worldwide is infected by at least one species of pathogenic fungus. Most commonly, these pathogens are members of the phylum Ascomycota, subphylum Pezizomycotina, and class Eurotiomycetes. Many of these organisms remain latent within the human body without causing disease, but certain species can take hold and lead to infection.
Black fungal disease (BFD) happens by a variety of molds and yeasts. These organisms produce toxins that cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. BFD affects both people and animals alike, including pets and livestock. In humans, BFD causes rashes, blisters, and even death if left untreated.
The first sign of a black mold infection is often a foul odor. Mold spores enter the body through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. Once inside, they begin to multiply and cause damage to internal organs. Other symptoms of black mold infections include coughing, wheezing, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache.
Some types of black mold are visible, while others remain hidden until the infection progresses to full-blown illness. Common types of visible black molds include Stachybotrys atra, Aspergillus Versicolor, Cladosporium cladosporioides, and Penicillium griseofulvin.
How does the black fungal disease spread?
Fungi can travel easily through air and water. They can travel via clothing, bedding, towels, and even shoes. They can survive in moist environments, making them easier to spread.
How does black fungal disease occur?
Fungi enter the human body through breaks in the skin. Once inside, they begin to multiply, causing damage to the surrounding cells.
What is black fungus? – All you need to know
The fungus is not capable of producing spores, and instead forms hyphae (thread-like filaments) directly into its host’s blood vessels. In severe cases, hyphal invasion causes thrombotic occlusion resulting in vascular necrosis and death of affected organs or tissue.
Humans become infected via inhalation of airborne conidia produced during sporulation of the organism; however, the majority of reported cases were associated with invasive surgical procedures. The risk factors for developing mucormycosis include neutropenia, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, trauma, malnutrition, and deferoxamine therapy.
Clinical manifestations vary depending on the site of infection, ranging from localized cutaneous lesions to disseminated disease involving various organs.
The most commonly affected organ system includes the sinuses (e.g., rhinocerebral zygomycosis), skin (cutaneous zygomycosis), and gastrointestinal tract (intestinal zygomycosis). Pulmonary involvement is less frequent (only 2–11% of patients) but may lead to fulminant pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Endocarditis is rare among the nonneutropenic population but carries a high mortality rate.
What Is Black Fungal Disease in humans?
Black fungal dermatitis is uncommon among healthy people. However, many people carry opportunistic fungi in the environment, including bacteria, viruses, molds, and yeasts.
What is a black fungus and how does it spread?
- Through inhalation
Black fungal disease (BF) is a form of histoplasmosis caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungus that grows best at moderate temperatures. BF is an airborne infection and spreads from person to person primarily through the air via spores. People who have active histoplasmosis generally experience symptoms only when their immune system is compromised.
- Direct contact
Histoplasma spores can remain viable in the environment for extended periods. When contaminated objects come in contact with skin, they may cause direct exposure.
- Indirect contact
The fungus can also contaminate food and water supplies. A person can become infected if he or she ingests the fungus by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Airborne transmission occurs when spores enter the lungs through inhalation. After entering the body, the spores germinate and multiply in the lymph nodes and bone marrow.
- Contaminated soil
Contaminated soil may lead to the transfer of the organism to persons who work around the site. If the soil is not properly cleaned or treated, the organisms can survive for long periods. The fungi can then infect people who handle the contaminated soil; these individuals could then contract the infection even years later.
Cats and birds are particularly susceptible to getting histoplasmosis, especially when they eat bat feces. Dogs and livestock are occasionally affected by the disease.
As mentioned above, the primary route of transmission for human infections is the inhalation of H. capsulatum spores. However, some infections occur directly through contact with contaminated soil, animals, or bird excretions.
What is a Black fungus and how to diagnose it?
- Diagnosis of black fungus involves microscopic identification of the organism in clinical specimens.
- Radiographic studies (chest radiography/CT scan) should be obtained if pulmonary involvement is suspected. A presumptive diagnosis can be made based on histologic demonstration of characteristic filamentous organisms in biopsies taken at the time of surgery.
- Serology testing is useful in identifying antibodies against the organism in serum samples. Treatment consists of surgical debridement, antifungal agents, and supportive care.
- Lipid formulations of amphotericin B (liposomal amphotericin B, Amphoteric) are recommended for systemic use. Posaconazole (Noxafil, Alcon) has recently received approval for oral administration.
- Voriconazole (Vfend, Pfizer) is also approved for intravenous administration.
Symptoms to look out for: What is black fungus getting into the brief?
The symptoms of the black fungal disease vary depending on where in the body the infection takes place. However, if the infection spreads to the lungs, nose, throat, eyes, mouth, vagina, rectum, or urinary tract, then the person may develop symptoms. Common symptoms include:
Blisters, sores, or rashes on the skin
Although BFD is not contagious, it is treatable. People who experience these symptoms should consult their doctor immediately. Treatment includes taking antifungals and staying away from places where the fungus grows. If left untreated, however, BFD may cause long-term problems such as arthritis.
How to prevent and treat Black fungus Disease?
Prevention and Treatment
There are three types of treatments for mucormycosis: antifungal medications, surgical debridement, and combined therapy. Antifungals are effective in treating localized mucormycotic infections, but not systemic ones. Surgical debridement involves removing infected tissues. When possible, early diagnosis and treatment are imperative in preventing the further spread of the disease. Combined therapy uses both antifungals and surgery.
There are several ways to prevent black mold contamination:
- Keep your home clean
- Do not eat raw foods
- Avoid touching contaminated surfaces
- Use air fresheners
- Clean air filters regularly
- Wash hands frequently
- Check heating/cooling vents for excessive moisture buildup
- Maintain proper ventilation
- Remove excess water from the basement
- Close windows and doors when away from home
In the final words,
Till now we got an idea that what is black fungus. A person infected with black fungal disease should seek medical attention right away. Many anti-fungal medications can treat the condition, but they take time to work. Therefore visit a doctor and take their recommendations. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance of recovery.
You can treat almost every infection, some cases may require hospitalization or surgery. To prevent spreading BFD, follow these tips:
- Wash hands thoroughly after touching any infected area
- Keep fingernails trimmed short
- Avoid sharing personal items like towels, clothing, and bedding
- Change clothes immediately upon coming indoors
If you suspect that you have BFD, contact your doctor right away. He/she can prescribe medications to treat the condition and help you avoid further complications.